Coach Ante Milicic says Macarthur FC will be hurting from their A-League finals exit for some time, but he’s confident the competition newcomers have set a platform to kick on.
Former Socceroos skipper and Macarthur FC inaugural captain Mark Milligan will call time on a decorated playing career at the end of the A-League season and move into coaching.
A defensive midfielder who also excelled at centre-back, Milligan played club football in China, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Scotland and England but also enjoyed a stellar A-League career.
Milligan, 35, retired from international football in December 2019 after 80 caps for the Socceroos, including captaining his country on 19 occasions.
A member of Australia’s 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018 World Cup squads, Milligan also played at three Asian Cups, including winning the 2015 tournament on home soil and was a member of the Olyroos team that played at the 2008 Olympics.
After his current A-League campaign ends, Milligan will join Ante Milicic’s coaching staff at Macarthur as an assistant from next season.
“I have been so fortunate to have the career I’ve had,” Milligan said.
“Through my journey I have been lucky enough to play with some wonderful players, coaches, clubs and in some fantastic parts of the world.
“So many people gave up so much for me to achieve my dreams of a being a professional footballer, none more so than my family.
“I have decided that now is the time for me to not only give back to them, but to the game that has given me so much.”
After starting his professional journey at Northern Spirit in 2002, Milligan went on to play more than 330 games across his career – with 164 so far in the A-League.
He won the inaugural A-League championship with Sydney FC in 2005-06 and had a guest period at Newcastle in 2008-09.
Milligan then captained Melbourne Victory to the 2014-15 premiership-championship double and won the Joe Marston Medal as the player of the match in that season’s grand final.
He joined Macarthur as the expansion club’s inaugural marquee player in July 2020, was named captain and has played all but one game (red card suspension) this season, scoring three goals – including the Bulls’ first in the A-League.
“I was extremely honoured when Mark agreed to join us at Macarthur,” coach Ante Milicic said.
“As a coach you want to attract quality and experienced leaders to your club. Mark’s faith and belief in the vision we have for this club is a testament to his character.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with Mark throughout the season as a player and captain of our club, and I’m excited to see him progress into the coaching realm.”